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The 38 Essential Washington Restaurants, October '11

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It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

This time around, after much reflecting and poring over reader emails and comments, the 38 bids farewell to Oyamel, the Argonaut, Addie's, Dino and the post-Rob Weland Poste — not because they aren't great spots, but simply because time keeps moving on.

That's the bad news. The good: several new spots have proved their mettle over the past six months, and Eater would like to welcome Hill Country and Toki Underground to the dancefloor. Having recently stepped up its game, Ripple earns a spot, too. Finally, we listened to the clamor and brought Proof and BlackSalt aboard. All of these changes are reflected in totally random order here.

And, just in case, rather than a stage-4 meltdown over our having excluded your favorite restaurant from the list, wouldn't it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion?

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Palena

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3529 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-537-9250

2. Estadio

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1540 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-319-1404

3. Birch & Barley

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1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
202-567-2576

4. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

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465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-682-3123

5. Ray's The Steaks

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2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
VA 22201, United States
703-841-7297

6. Ben's Chili Bowl

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1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009
202-667-0909

7. Zaytinya

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701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Rasika

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633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

9. Montmartre

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327 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

10. Equinox Restaurant

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818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

11. Central Michel Richard

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1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20004

12. The Source by Wolfgang Puck

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575 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20580

13. Sushiko

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2309 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007

14. Belga Cafe

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514 8th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

15. Bibiana Osteria-Enoteca

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1100 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

16. Cava

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9713 Traville Gateway Dr
Rockville, MD 20850

17. Hank's Oyster Bar

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1624 Q St NW
Washington, DC 20009

18. Room 11

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3234 11th St NW
Washington, DC 20010

19. Passenger

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1021 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

20. Cashion's Eat Place

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1819 Columbia Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009

21. Ethiopic Restaurant

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401 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

22. Tabard Inn

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1739 N St NW
Washington, DC 20036

23. Bar Pilar

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1833 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

24. Proof

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775 G St NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-737-7663

25. Hill Country

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410 7th St NW
Washington, DC 20004
202-556-2050

26. Toki Underground

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1234 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
202-469-1177

27. Brasserie Beck

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1101 K St NW
Washington, DC 20005

28. EatBar

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2761 Washington Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

29. Ardeo + Bardeo

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3311 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

30. Pho 75

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1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

31. BlackSalt Fish Market & Restaurant

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4883 MacArthur Blvd NW
Washington, DC 20007
202-342-9101

32. Ripple

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3417 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008
202-244-7995

33. Vermilion Restaurant

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1120 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

34. The Majestic

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911 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

35. Atlas Room

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1015 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002

36. Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant

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1114 U St NW
Washington, DC 20001

37. Evening Star Cafe

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2000 Mt Vernon Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301

38. Two Amys

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3715 Macomb St NW
Washington, DC 20016
202-885-5700

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1. Palena

3529 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008

3529 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

2. Estadio

1540 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

1540 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

3. Birch & Barley

1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

4. Kushi Izakaya & Sushi

465 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001

465 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001

5. Ray's The Steaks

2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201, United States

2300 Wilson Blvd, Arlington
VA 22201, United States

6. Ben's Chili Bowl

1213 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

1213 U St NW
Washington, DC 20009

7. Zaytinya

701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001

701 9th St NW
Washington, DC 20001

8. Rasika

633 D St NW, Washington, DC 20004

633 D St NW
Washington, DC 20004

9. Montmartre

327 7th St SE, Washington, DC 20003

327 7th St SE
Washington, DC 20003

10. Equinox Restaurant

818 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20006

818 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

11. Central Michel Richard

1001 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20004